After The Diagnosis – Google Chat Today!

Today I’m talking on Google Chat with Denise and G-J. This spring we put a free e-book together called After The Diagnosis with things that we thought may be helpful for anyone who is facing time as a caregiver when a loved one has a new diagnosis.

I contributed because I really believe that the faster a family can get oriented to hospital culture, the more likely they are to become engaged on their caree’s behalf. I think it makes people more likely to advocate for good care, and more likely to speak up when they see things that need to be adjusted.

I talk about two primary times within After The Diagnosis – the immediate aftermath of the diagnosis (let’s say, the first weekend), and when it is really time to engage hospital staff when you “need to pick a fight”.

Why? Why those moments?

It wasn’t my first husband’s most critical health time, in fact that morning I thought he was fine. With his disease process his aorta was bound to be a trouble spot at some point in his life – and when it started to be I learned it by the doctor saying

“If he goes skydiving he’ll be dead before he hits the ground” – I guess skydiving isn’t such a great birthday present after all.

And with that turn of phrase that initial moment of new knowledge has always been a sacred, raw, universe changing moment and I’ve tried to figure out how to help people through it.

But then why talk about picking fights?

Sometimes you just need get something right and all the polite stuff your mama taught you just isn’t working.

When the first year resident was all excited about discharging my first husband even though it was such a BAD idea, it took most of what I had (at 26) to look at a DOCTOR and say that I wasn’t going to take him. I didn’t even know if I COULD do that. You can (and I was right not to take him, something WAS going on).

I’m proud of my contribution, I’m proud that it is free and downloadable into your electronic fidget of choice, I am proud that we each independently chose to write tiny essays so that it was digestible pieces of information.

G-J & Denise talk a lot of the nitty gritty details of the work of caregiving in those early days and together I think we’ve done something that can help someone.

I hope you’ll join us at the google chat.

The medicine I grew up with

I am working on a new theory.

I propose that, lacking immediate mortal threat, there is a discomfort with medical developments that happen after a person reaches adulthood.

My father’s youth pre-dates antibiotics.  He was raised at a time where doctor and G-d were nearly synonymous, and when his doctor tells him to do something he does.  With one exception – pills for chronic diseases.  He just doesn’t seem to put any stock into taking a tiny pill to manage something that doesn’t create a negative sensation in his body.  Pills are something to be taken briefly to fix the thing that sent you to the doctor in the first place … just like when he was a young man.

Being an American woman, there have been long chunks of time in my life where I took daily medications, I could understand their importance and assumed the lack of symptoms were proof of effectiveness.  If someone told me to take a pill to not have a stroke, I’d do it.

But.

It took me a LONG time to come around on the flu shot.  I got my son the chicken pox shot even though I think it is dumb.  I expect by the time he is old enough the HPV vaccination will be mandatory for boys as well.  This isn’t about debunked theories, this is about the newness of the vaccinations.  The fact that the chicken pox is boring and uncomfortable but not life threatening for most of us.  The fact that the flu shot isn’t well developed enough yet to be effective enough to save people the worry about getting sick.

It is because it didn’t exist when I was a young adult … so I am distrustful of it.

So is it just a thing with me and my family, or is it true for you as well?